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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems 279

Joe Helfrich writes "Ubisoft's Settlers 7 servers have been causing problems for over a week for users worldwide, and Australian gamers are hardly able to connect at all. 'The problem reportedly strikes after the game has already confirmed an active Internet connection, and prevents the user from playing even the single-player campaign, returning the error "server not available." But they are available, because other people are logged into them and merrily playing away.' Wonder how they're going to describe this one as an attack."
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Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems

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  • Settlers 7 (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:52PM (#31717090) Journal

    I won't be buying Settlers 7 before they remove this DRM. Settlers is one of my favorite series and Settlers 2 probably my favorite game of all time, and what I've read about Settlers 7, it again has more emphasis on economy and all the other aspects that used to make Settlers series great before they changed the game play too much. Settlers 7 would had been a nice strategy game fix right now, but I can surely wait for the upcoming Civilization V too.

    That being said, while it's an intrusive and assholish DRM, every game that uses it's remain uncracked (before you post links to torrent searches, everyone of those are badly cracked or only contain a tutorial and not rest of the levels and so on). Silent Hunter after 1.5 months, Assassins Creed after a month and now Settlers 7 too. It will most likely make Ubisoft want to use it even more and more, and it most likely does lead to more sales from the pirates front as they can't play the game otherwise. I also suspect it leads to fewer sales from those who always buy games (from me and probably rest of the slashdot crowd), but most of the people aren't as technically savvy as we are. Too bad you can't really compare how a game would sell without any DRM or with a draconian DRM like this one.

    But in the case it gets cracked, I won't be even pirating it - I give my time and money to the companies that do it correctly. Pirating it isn't a good answer either because you're still getting your gaming fix from that company and most likely ignoring other companies games that don't have such DRM in place. The only way to get a change is to ignore companies that use draconian DRM and support those who don't.

    • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by IceDiver ( 321368 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:02PM (#31717224)

      It might lead to more sales, but not from me.

      I won't buy them, and I won't try to download any of these games, even if they ARE successfully cracked. Besides being illegal, it would just give UbiS*** ammo for their claims that they are losing sales to pirates.

      Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message.

      • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MrMista_B ( 891430 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:31PM (#31717502)

        "Don't buy and don't download cracked games. Maybe then all these idiot companies will get the message."

        I'm afraid your wrong.

        They will simply decide that your lack of a purchase is proof of your piracy.

        People aren't buying their games? It must be piracy!

        • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Informative)

          by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:45PM (#31717636) Homepage Journal

          Assassin's Creed 2 still hasn't been cracked successfully, and doesn't seem to sell particularly well. At least not enough to indicate that every pirated game is a lost sale.

        • Either way they don't get money, and you don't get a problematic product. They'll either learn their lesson or go out of business from lack of sales.

          These days, the problem with games isn't finding games to play, it is finding time to play games. We have a TON of good games out there. There are a bunch of companies working full steam producing games of nearly every kind you can imagine. Many of those games are quite fun. So what you find is that it is very easy to find more games you'd like to play than you

          • They'll either learn their lesson or go out of business from lack of sales.
            Unless they extend this to consoles I doubt it will have that much impact on their buisness. Afaict PC gamers are a pretty small part of the gaming market.

            • Well, just to throw a spanner in your works.

              I have a console, and a PC (obviously). I game on both... I have pirated games on both. It was actually easier to copy ACII on console than PC.

              Your move...

      • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily.gmail@com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:36PM (#31717568)

        The message is already out there: the World of Warcraft client doesn't contain anything that would resemble DRM, copy protection, registration, whatever. You just copy it over from your friend, and run it. Changing from the retail server to a private one is accomplished by changing one line in a plain text file with Notepad.

        Here's the trick: the game you pay for is better than the one you get for free. The maintainers of the private servers simply cannot keep up with Blizzard's development speed. They're not threatening Blizzard's profit, they're basically marketing for them.

        Let me say it again, in case someone from Ubisoft reads this. The WoW you pay for is better than the one you get for free.

        • by Deorus ( 811828 )

          Only Warden [wikipedia.org]...

        • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:42PM (#31718142) Homepage

          Nonsense. WoW doesn't include DRM, because the whole MMO model is DRM.

          The problem with Ubisoft games is that it's supposed to be a single-player game, yet it requires a constant internet connection to play them. That's not a problem with WoW because MMO are supposed to require an internet connection.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cfalcon ( 779563 )

            The "whole MMO model is DRM" is a big fat lie.

            DRM is Digital Restrictions Management (Digital Rights Management to some). It controls what goes on on YOUR computer, the one YOU own, that is supposed to work for YOU. This is not the case in an MMO, where you have a client that talks to a server, and your client IS working for you. The server, running as Blizzard's property, is not. It's ok to run locally if you mess around with it a bit, but you end up with a vast boring world that isn't interesting like

        • by init100 ( 915886 )

          retail server to a private one

          I never understood how this could be possible. I mean, the software on the retail servers are unlikely to become pirated (unless they are broken into), so that means that the private servers must be developed by people outside Blizzard. But that sounds insanely complex. Not only do you need to reverse engineer all their protocols, but you need to (re)create the entire game world, along with the thousand and one other things to make it all work. So people have actually done this?

          Not to mention other things,

          • by Jurily ( 900488 )

            I assembled my own recently.

            The server and the databases are all developed separately, and it's up to you to host it. In fact,

            MaNGOS is an educational project. This means, our primary interest is to learn and teach us and our users more about C++ project development in a large scale. Our software is not intended for running public servers, and we do not support that.

            And to give you a hint about the complexity: MaNGOS is 12 MB of C++ (mostly uncommented), and my full database took 110 MB of SQL.

          • Well the world geometry and textures will be either in the client already or downloaded by the client during the game so those should be relatively easy to copy (assuming you've already reverse engineered the protocol).

            What will most likely have to be redone from scratch is all the scripting but that is a lot less work than creating the game from scratch.

    • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:09PM (#31717300)

      it most likely does lead to more sales from the pirates front as they can't play the game otherwise.

      I seriously doubt this. Pirates are after free stuff. Even ye olde sea pirates were after free stuff. It's not like they'd say "Yarr, we haven't found a spice merchant ship to raid in over a month, lets go legally buy some spices at port and sell them at another port." No, they'd just go raid a small village somewhere.

      This type of DRM will cause nothing but loss for Ubisoft. They spent money to make it (or license it), pirates will move elsewhere, and people that would have bought it will be reduced in number because they hear from their friends "It never lets me play!", assuming they didn't hear from their techy friends that "It won't let you play some day".

      • Of course, software pirates aren't actually the pirates of yore. I agree, though, they are generally after free stuff. I know there's at least a small percentage who download a cracked game in the absence of a good demo, and have bought the game trying it out. For the most part, however, I think game pirates are like music pirates: the vast, vast majority of what they download can not be considered lost sales. It's not being downloaded as a substitute for buying the game/cd, it's being downloaded because it

      • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <almafuerte@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:53PM (#31717712)

        Except Piracy is stealing fucking ships on the open seas.

        And downloading and cracking software is .... downloading and cracking software.

      • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:25PM (#31718010)
        I've seen pirates pay for stuff when they couldn't get it online for free.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by billcopc ( 196330 )

          Sure, but that just one (or a few ) samples. You can't say that any significant number of people will pay for software if they can't pirate it. Some will, some won't. Some people can afford it, yet still pirate because it's easier (Steam converts a lot of these). Some people can't afford it, because they live in some idiotic slave nation, and will never buy anything because that big-studio game costs more than what they earn in a year.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by brit74 ( 831798 )
            You can't say that any significant number of people will pay for software if they can't pirate it. Some will, some won't.

            Yes, I'm fine with the statement that majority of pirates wouldn't have bought the game. However, when piracy numbers are as high as they are (Stardock / Demigod claimed 85% of the people trying to connect to their servers were pirates; 2dBoy said 90% of the people playing their game pirated it), you don't need a large percentage to get a big boost in sales numbers. If we said 90% of
        • by pjt33 ( 739471 )


    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      It might lead to more short term sales. People have lots of path commitment. If you were anticipating playing a certain up coming title when it became available you will like do whatever you have to do to get there even if that means paying for when your original plan was pirate it.

      If people have a bad experience because of the DRM they won't start anticipating the next round of titles in the first place, and that will translate to lost sales.

      • If you were anticipating playing a certain up coming title when it became available you will like do whatever you have to do to get there even if that means paying for when your original plan was pirate it.

        It could also go the other way: you plan to buy something, but the release in your region gets canceled. This has happened to fans of plenty of anime series, the film Song of the South, and the video game Mother 3.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DaMattster ( 977781 )
      I agree. The solution to the DRM problem lies with the consumer. If the consumer refuses to buy games that include DRM, companies that use it will need to make the change due to "market forces" in action.
      • by Rallion ( 711805 )

        If customers just stop buying their games, the determination will not be that they need to stop implementing harsh DRM. It will be that there are not enough people willing to buy PC games legitimately. Their sales were too low before because of the pirates, and now they're too low because those pirates won't pay for the games even if they make them uncrackable. If sales are even lower than they were before, it's because the PC market is shrinking.

        They will decide to switch to an all-console strategy, while

        • by brit74 ( 831798 )
          If customers just stop buying their games, the determination will not be that they need to stop implementing harsh DRM. It will be that there are not enough people willing to buy PC games legitimately.

          I think his assumption is that people would buy DRM-free games instead (e.g. from Stardock, 2dBoy, etc).

          Their sales were too low before because of the pirates, and now they're too low because those pirates won't pay for the games even if they make them uncrackable.

          I've seen pirates pay for stuff that
        • Another poster in this story had the right idea. Buy a DRM-free game and post a copy of the receipt to the Ubisoft head office with a note saying 'I was going to buy your game, but because of the DRM I bought this one instead'. How many people do you think need to do that to send a message that DRM harms sales?
    • by JackDW ( 904211 )

      Same - although in my case, the game I won't be buying (or pirating) is R.U.S.E.

      If we reward Ubisoft's DRM with money, then it won't be long before every publisher adopts this DRM strategy. Goodbye, Steam offline mode, we hardly knew ye.

      By steadfastly refusing to reward the publishers, we at least create the possibility that DRM will be cut back to a bare minimum in order to increase sales. "Amazon MP3 for Games": that is the goal. It's not life or death, but it's important enough to change my behaviour.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rallion ( 711805 )

        I plan to find a way to get in contact with Ubisoft and tell them WHY I'm not buying RUSE. I played the beta a bit, and I really like it, and I can honestly say that the DRM will cost them my money. But not buying it isn't actually helpful, because they will twist any sales numbers or piracy estimates to mean whatever they want. We've reached a point where the only way that we can actually communicate with the publishers is to actually directly spell out our feelings to them in verbal or written form.

        If the

        • I tried REALLY hard to find a good way to contact ubi about silent hunter. I LOVE the silent hunter series, and I was ready and willing to buy it, but not with this DRM. I have every previous version of the game, all paid for. Silent Hunter 3 is the best, a brilliant, fun game that I've probably put several hundred hours into (a lot for me).

          Anyway, I failed. The support email I found for them bounces. The people on the phone don't care. They are lost at sea.
          My last attempt was emailing jaime.cottini@ubiso

          • by Rallion ( 711805 )

            I was afraid that I would find it difficult to get in touch with them, which is why I said that I had a "plan" to "find a way" to get them a message. Disappointing (but not surprising) to hear that I was right, but I'll still be sending something to somebody.

          • I tried REALLY hard to find a good way to contact ubi about silent hunter... Anyway, I failed.

            And yet, right there on their web site, it says:

            1st Floor, Chertsey Gate East,
            London Street,
            Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8AP

            The CEO's name is Yves Guillemot. I suggest that you write to him. And, as another poster suggested, include a photocopy of a receipt for a DRM-free game that you bought from one of their competitors instead of Silent Hunter.

        • by JackDW ( 904211 )
          Good idea. I think I might try to send them a letter on paper.
    • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:03PM (#31717812) Homepage
      It's also led to one of the worst backlashes ever. I mean, half of the PCGamer review of AC2 was about the DRM scheme and how it sucked. This thing is so intrusive and aggressive that people WILL notice it, even the less tech savvy. Further, those same non-geeks won't get what's going on (people who do understand what's happening might just wait, knowing there isn't much else to do), will angrily flood Ubisoft's tech support asking for answers and thus maybe one day Ubisoft will understand that it may not be the best way to go.
      • by JWW ( 79176 )

        The next step is for those less tech savvy folks to begin flooding their Attorney General's offices with phone calls.

        If a company requires internet service to run the game and a customer has the legally purchased game and internet service, but can't play the game, the company is being fraudulent in their marketing and sales for the game.

        There should be an expectation (which has been true since the beginning of gaming) that if a single player sits down with a game and has an adequate system to play it that t

    • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:11PM (#31717882)

      This isn't going to lead to a sales boost. When I was 14 and a pirate I pirated because I was poor. Every game I didn't or couldn't pirates wasn't a game I bought. It was just a game I didn't own.

      Well, now I am twenty something and out of college with an engineering degree. I am single, make a tidy pile of money, and have pretty much no expenses beyond student loans. I buy every single video game that catches my fancy without thinking twice. I never pirate because I don't need to. I just pass on DRM titles. There are more than enough without DRM that it isn't a hard decision.

      Ubi has lost money from me. I would have bought Assassins Creed 2 and Settlers 7. Hell, I was even eying Silent Hunter 5 a little. Instead though? I just went out and got Bioshock 2, both Empire and Napolian Total War, the new STALKER, the new Dragons Age, and Mass Effect 2, on top of a couple of small indie games. Metro 2037 and MW2 are in my list of games to buy as soon as I catch up on the pile I have already bought.

      I really doubt Ubi has "forced' pirates to buy any games. They might not be playing any Ubi games, but what good does that do if they don't buy the game either? For people like me though, I have not and will not buy any Ubi games. Keep a pirate from playing and you gain nothing. Make me and people like me not want to play, and you lose a few hundred bucks.

      • I have not been one to use pirated games. I have done it exactly once, for revenge... I ordered the expansion pack "Doom 3 Resurrection of Evil" directly from ID Software's web site and never got it. Support just blew me off. I even contacted their payment processor and got better support but still no results, despite the promise to try to help. So I downloaded it. I actually paid a lot of money for that... by the time I paid the shipping and exchange it was almost $70 Canadian for a $20 USD expansion pack.

    • Silent Hunter after 1.5 months

      Actually, SKIDROW's Silent Hunter V crack was out within 24 hours of the game's release and it works just fine. Of course, I wouldn't know this from personal experience.

    • by Smauler ( 915644 )

      I'm with you. Football Manager 2009 had nasty DRM, the first game I purchased which really pissed me off with it, and I vowed then and there I wouldn't ever purchase another single player PC game that required an internet connection. Hell, I didn't even have an internet connection here until a few months ago. Anyway, football manager 2010 came out, with no really nasty DRM, and I bought it, and posted a reply to my scathing forum post about 2009, saying I had bought 2010 purely because of the lack of DRM

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "That being said, while it's an intrusive and assholish DRM, every game that uses it's remain uncracked"

      I'm not going to post links to torrents but I know for a fact it has been reliably cracked. I was playing ACII before it ever hit the shelves and beat it before release.

    • Re:Settlers 7 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @03:53PM (#31718230) Homepage

      I don't really think it leads to more sales. Let's suppose I'm a pirate (*ahem*). If I can't play Settlers 7, or Assassin's Creed 2, or whatever hot-game-of-the-minute, I will find something else to occupy my weekend. I'm not going to feel the overwhelming urge to go "haha, ok Ubisoft you win this time" and give them $70, when there are hundreds of other recent titles available right on the first page of my torrent site. In fact, if something is known to be "uncrackable" a pirate is more likely to NOT want to buy it, for fear that it will rootkit their PC, mess with Daemon Tools, or phone home with a list of all the other ill-gotten software they have.

      Now I'm going to take a rather offensive stance: I, as an occasional producer of (low budget) software, pirate my own stuff. By that, I mean I routinely package the product that I myself created, throw in a valid unlock code, and seed it on torrent trackers, push it through Usenet, stick it on Rapidshare. Why in the fuck would I do that ? Because pirates make up the oldest and largest social network of all time. I shit you not, I have been making more money and more repeat sales. The reasoning ? There are several types of pirates, I lump them into four main categories:

          1. Hardcore pirates who won't pay for software, ever
          2. Casual/bored pirates who will download whatever's new and try it out
          3. Average Joe who shares stuff with a few friends and relatives, might do group buys
          4. Try-before-you-buy types (yes they do exist)

      #1 is most likely 12 years old and/or living in the 3rd world, might as well forget about them there is no hope for this category

      #3 is small peas, blue-collar cheap-ass. Even legit businesses don't spend much on marketing to these types

      #2 and #4 are GOLDEN. The try-before-they-buy types often become life-long supporters. These are the guys who will chat you up in the forums and spread your gospel to coworkers and acquaintances. The casual pirates are similar, but they won't buy your product: their friends will. The casual pirate will blog about your app or mention it on IRC/Facebook, proportionate to your app's quality and apparent ease-of-use.

      I know these observations don't directly scale to these big-name game houses. Obviously there is a greater benefit to indie guys like myself, but on some level, people will always buy a certain portion of their software... for some it's 100%, for others it's zero, and I don't think DRM has much influence on that.

      Piracy is a constant. You can't kill it, no matter how clever you get, it's still just a software or hardware lock, and both can be broken by someone with a bit of smarts, time and motivation. DRM is nothing but a series of small pyrrhic victories and each incremental tightening of "security" leads to an equal or greater increment in the cracker's knowledge and skill. The only ones who truly profit from DRM are the people selling DRM.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      DRM was rampant in the late 1980s, and gamers revolted and stopped buying and playing DRMed gamed. DRM went away.

      It's time for another revolt, and maybe it's beginning. It's not proven that piracy costs sales, but it's very obvious that DRM costs sales.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @01:57PM (#31717158)

    I hear the pirated version of settlers 7 has none of these problems. Best of all: I hear you can get this "pirate" version for free!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      Why is this flamebait? It's entirely relevant to the story and makes a valid point. DRM doesn't affect pirates, it just degrades the product for the legitimate customers and makes the pirated version more attractive in comparison. It's much easier to persuade a legitimate customer to switch to the pirated version than it is to do the reverse, and DRM schemes like this have exactly that effect. Any company that spends money driving its customers away is badly in need of new management.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:44PM (#31717624)

      As far as I know, it hasn't been cracked yet. Neither has Assassin's Creed 2, at least not satisfactorily. The only problem Ubisoft now have is that people aren't buying their games because of the bad publicity around the DRM- Assassin's Creed 2 is down to £15.98 already on Amazon UK, a sure sign that it's not selling very well.

      • by sa1lnr ( 669048 )

        Who needs a cracked version, they'll both be in Game's 3 for £10 bargain bin pretty damn soon by the looks of it.

        Oh the irony.

        Anti-piracy measures lead to less sales.

  • by selven ( 1556643 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:03PM (#31717234)

    that pirates are, as usual, getting a superior product [slashdot.org]. Remind me, why am I supposed to pay for the legit version again?

    • by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:55PM (#31717736)

      As far as I can tell, the article you are pointing to refers to Silent Hunter 5, and both Assassin's Creed 2 and Settlers 7 remain uncracked.

      Also note that the solidity of DRM techniques like these depend at how much time the developers spend to "secure" their product. My guess is that for Silent Hunter 5, a very niche product, they only did the minimum. But for their big titles they probably have hordes of programmers messing the game pretty much beyond recognition without the connection to the server. Oh, that never makes it impossible to crack, but it's no longer a simple matter of by-passing some CD key checks by inserting NOPs, you really have to build a set of tools around a particular title and it can take weeks to do so ...

      And that's really their goal. Most of the sales of a game are done during the first few days / weeks. If it takes a month to crack the damn thing, they have reached their goal.

      If they sell 10'000 more titles because frustrated kids can't find their free crack and must beg their parents to go to the store, they have reached their goal. I'm eager to see their financial numbers about this - I'm still skeptical it will change anything, but we'll see.

      Now to answer your question: you are supposed to pay because 1) it is illegal to do otherwise 2) you support the developers of the games you love.

      Wiseass like you wonder why all PC games are crap and developers focus on console gaming since the Internet got popularized ...

      (PS: that is not to say I'm all for these draconian DRM practices. I don't really care about the "always connected" feature as long as the requirements are clearly visible when you buy the game, but I don't like the fact that it prevents resale).

      • "If they sell 10'000 more titles because frustrated kids can't find their free crack and must beg their parents to go to the store, they have reached their goal."

        No, they haven't. With DRM, you have to consider all the costs vs the gains.

        So your gains with a DRM system are your cut (generally 50% for the publisher) of the sales that you would not have got without said DRM. If we assume 10,000 sales that's about $300,000. Now you have to weigh that against the costs:

        1) People who would have bought your game,

    • To support the programmers, artists, etc. for creating a game you enjoy playing perhaps? Or do you think these people, who are unlikely to even be the ones to decide to use DRM, don't deserve any compensation for the entertainment they give you?

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:06PM (#31717266)
    I am not a gamer simply because I stare at a computer screen 12 - 16 hours a day and can't see getting my entertainment from a computer or console. But ...

    I am numbed by the lengths that these game developers go to try to stop piracy. I completely understand the need to protect their investment and product, but not at the expense of their paying customers. This seems like a ridiculous tale of a snake eating itself and smugly stating "see, I told you so" as it takes its last bite.

    There has got to be a happy medium between this draconian DRM and unprotected products.
    • I completely understand the need to protect their investment and product

      I don't. Since when did an AAA game ever fail because of piracy?

      Most games get cracked immediately and pirated thoroughly. But pirates are still a small group in comparison to the market for big games. I remember Spore getting cracked and pirated before it was even released, and yet it was a big success. It's hardly alone in that.

    • There are plenty of games out there with minimum to no protection that do just fine. Some offer online content that you need an account for . World of Warcraft would be an example. There's no copy protection, and you can actually change the servers it connects to in a text file. Makes it easy to change it to a non-Blizzard server. However, if you want to play on the real Blizzard servers you need to pay for an account, and their servers are much better than any free/hacked ones so that's what people do.


  • Want them to change? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dracil ( 732975 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:10PM (#31717322)

    Don't just vote with your wallet. Show them you did.

    Mail them the receipt of the next game you buy telling them why the receipt does not have their game on it.

    • by Trerro ( 711448 )

      There's 3 companies that pull this crap - EA, Ubisoft, and Activision. That doesn't sound too bad, right? Just avoid those 3 companies.

      Then you realize they've purchased or destroyed nearly every other game company in the US, and you quickly realize those 3 are the overwhelming majority of the industry.

      I do indeed vote with my wallet - indie games, Korean and Japanese imports, Flash game sites (you don't pay for these but every time you go to one, you're giving the company ad revenue), webgames, etc.


  • DRMlicious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Archaemic ( 1546639 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:16PM (#31717366)

    Can we all laugh in Ubisoft's face yet? Too soon? Too late?

    Companies put all this time and money into DRM. Have they yet shown that the money they spend outweighs the money they lose from piracy? It seems like this DRM scheme is particularly bad as it actually INCREASES the piracy and DECREASES the legitimate customers--the exact opposite of the intent. Sure, if there's no DRM, it might have even worse actual sales, but then again, it might not. Even if it does have worse sales...are they losing more money than they would have spent on the DRM? It's hard to say, or even to do a study on this.

    I commend StarDock for their anti-DRM attitude and manifesto, although I have seen their stuff on pirate sites. I have a friend who pirated an indie game a few weeks back, and I really hate that more than pirating a game by a large company (say, EA or Ubisoft). His reasoning was "I'll play it once for not very much time. It's not worth that money." I've seen other arguments, "Well I wouldn't buy it anyway, so they're not losing money." Is this really the selfish culture we've become? If it costs money and you're not going to pay for it, you shouldn't get to use it. That's kind of the way capitalism works. It's not about your impact on their sales, it's about exchange of goods. I'm not 100% pure, myself, having a fair amount of pirated music, and some pirated video games (all of which are pretty old and no longer published at this point), but at least I don't regard the idea of piracy as justifiable a lot of the time...

    I find the way Steam handles DRM the least draconic of any DRM and am actually fairly okay with it. You can buy it and link it up to Steam. Steam needs to be online, sure, although there is an offline mode. I'm fairly certain that Valve has stated that if they were to bring Steam offline forever, they would provide a way of unlocking the games, and I don't really doubt this. This is a sane way to provide DRM, so long as you follow through with your promise.

  • Funny how Ubisoft went in the exact opposite direction as the online music industry. Both iTunes and Amazon removed DRM from their music as a result of consumer outcry. Should be very easy to do with Ubisoft.
    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      To be fair, music was impossible to secure with DRM because of the analog hole. Plus, there's the fact that CDs are DRM-free. Once either of those are exploited, then copies are available on the internet. DRM on software is more secure. I'm not saying it is secure, just that it's harder to crack and it isn't always cracked (e.g. Assassin's Creed 2 is still not cracked, Settlers 7 is still not cracked, it took 3 years for someone to crack the PS3, etc). I'm not so sure that iTunes removed DRM because of
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petermgreen ( 876956 )

      I was under the impression that the music industry decided to allow their music to be sold online DRM free not because of consumer outcry but because they realised it was the only way to break the ipod/itunes dual product lockin. Also don't forget they had been offering drm free (or at least very weakly protected) CDs the whole time and that music has a HUGE analog hole (video has one too to some extent but there are things like macrovision to try and make it harder to exploit it).

  • by Xugumad ( 39311 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:38PM (#31717582)

    ...on Thursday, and boy was I glad I wasn't trying to play an Ubisoft game while I waited for it come back...

  • Settlers 7? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Oidhche ( 1244906 )
    I thought the series ended with Settlers 2.
  • For im sure that Razor1911, or Reloaded are fixing their problems for them, eliminating their chance of getting hammered by a class action lawsuit that would put them out of business.

  • Then i saw "this game need an active internet communication to be played". I avoided it like plague. I see that I was correct in my choice.
  • All I can say is I'm glad the new Splinter Cell for PC has been delayed until the end of the month. I'm hoping they've been able to resolve some of the DRM issues before it goes to Gold.

    I'd say this is probably the only game I'm looking forward to. If it doesn't work well, I might have to resort to getting a PS3. I'll miss playing games on my PC though.

  • by kupekhaize ( 220804 ) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @08:18PM (#31719902) Homepage

    I was playing a game on Steam last night and got a Steam ad for this game. I don't have them turned off because once in a while they show good games, sometimes for $4.95, others full price at $49.95+ or whatever, but I have no problems paying for good games. Started looking through the screenshots and got more interested; I've never played any of the Settlers series before but 7 looked pretty good. Then I saw the publisher was Ubisoft... instinctively I started scanning for what kind of DRM was being included. Couldn't find anything, surprisingly enough. Nothing in the right hand columns about SecuROM or the others. But, it didn't seem right to me, so I googled it. Low and behold, "Permanent internet connection required." I went back and rescanned the Steam listing again, and sure enough it was listed. Wasn't in any small print or anything, it was just the middle section below the description; someplace I wasn't expecting it before.

    As soon as I found that out, the game instantly became unplayable to me. Yes, I have an internet connection 99% of the time. No, I don't want to be kept from playing a game that I ****ing PAID FOR when my internet, or your DRM servers are down. End of story. Not the first time I've been kept from purchasing games; and it won't be the last.

    I have a special message for you, Ubisoft, and anyone else willing to implement these DRM schemes. I hope you son of a *****es either get a clue or go out of business before you kill the rest of PC gaming. You're the ones keeping me from purchasing games right now, not the availability of some virus infested warez version. I'm your paying customer, the one who keeps you in business, and you're losing me. I'm not against DRM in general, I pay for lots of games via Steam and there's DRM in there. But having offline playability for up to two weeks at a time says one hell of a lot about a company who actually gives a **** about their customers. Especially ones that add features (unlimited download and install on any # of computers) vs 3 activations, ever. Please get a clue.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll